Shadowbanning and How to Avoid It

Shadowbanning and How to Avoid It

Have you ever posted a fire photo and have it get little to no engagement? Your hashtags were perfect, the edit was amazing, yet you received less than 20% engagement. Why? Well, it’s not because you suck (that’s what I thought when it happened to me!), it’s because Instagram sucks.

Just kidding. But they are trying to crack down on spam and fake accounts. Can you blame them? Fake accounts not only hurt Instagram’s credibility, but yours if you have fake followers who don’t engage. Remember, engagement is everything for influencers who want to monetize their platforms!


What is Shadowbanning?

Unless you’ve already stopped reading, you might be wondering, “what the hell is shadowbanning?” Well, it’s some brands and influencer’s most annoying new enemy for Instagram growth. A shadowban has a significant affect in where your posts are shown; the explore page, hashtag pages, location tags, etc. If you are shadowbanned by enough hashtags, your post may not even show up on your follower’s home page feeds, dramatically weakening the amount of likes and comments you receive on your photos.

If you’re Instagram-savvy, you know that this is a problem. A low engagement rate diminishes credibility which directly correlates to what you will be compensated if you work with brands and companies. A brand can pay $50 for a social media campaign that gets great results. But they want genuine fans and lifelong, advocative customers. They get that through influencers.


How Do I Know If I’m Shadowbanned?

Last I checked, the only way to 100% know if you’re shadowbanned is to either:

  • have someone who doesn’t follow you look at the hashtag page of one of the hashtags you used on your post. If you’re shown, you’re not shadowbanned (on that hashtag); if you’re not shown, then you’re shadowbanned (for that hashtag)

  • using the service in the article

I know that sounds excessive and stupidly complicated for such a damaging thing that can happen to your posts, but that’s what they (Instagram HQ) want. They want you to not bother checking all of your 30 hashtags and pay to promote your posts. “Reach More People” they say… Show my posts to my followers!! Damn!!

A quick thing I do is use the company I work for’s Instagram to unfollow my personal account, and see if my post shows up on a few of the hashtag pages I tagged. Again, it can be excessive but that extra 50% of effort you put into your engagement ratio can be the difference from you getting that partnership or not.


How Do I Avoid It Then?

It’s not as hard as you think! Again, it’s just that 50% more effort than other influencers probably won’t do. You can avoid getting shadowbanned on Instagram with these easy steps:

  • Before posting, engage with the posts on your home page feed (the people you follow). I usually do this for about 5 minutes before I post my photo.

  • Switch up the hashtags you use. For instance, if you’ve been using the same 30 hashtags for your post dozen photos, Instagram is going to think you’re spam. It’s sad, but they don’t care. (This also goes to the accounts you tag on your photo for the explore page) If you need help curating a few hashtag lists to rotate, contact me!

  • Post great, unique content. That goes for your story as well as your feed. As a brand, this might mean launching an influencer campaign. As an influencer, this might mean hiring a photographer to shoot content with you or attending a networking event. I know there are plenty around San Diego (search the #sandiegoblogger hashtag on Instagram!)

Questions? Comments? Let me know below or in a message. I’m curious as to if this has ever happened to you or if you have other tactics!

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